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Ex-FCT Minister, Akinjide’s Trial Over N650m Fraud Adjourned

Justice Muslim Hassan had adjourned alleged fraud of N650m case against former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide.

The Federal High Court in Lagos adjourned till Friday the trial of a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide, who was charged with an alleged fraud of N650m.

The presiding judge, Justice Muslim Hassan adjourned the case,  with a directive that the prosecution should avail the defence of all the necessary documents.

The judge’s directive followed complaints by the defence counsel that they had yet to be served with certain documents, including report of investigation, which the prosecution intended to rely upon in the case.

Akinjide, alongside Senator Ayo Adeseun and Chief Olanrewaju Otiti, is facing 24 charges bordering on conspiracy and money laundering.

It should be noted that they were arraigned on January 16, 2018 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on the accusation of collecting N650m from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.

The EFCC claimed that they ought to have “reasonably known that the money formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act,” adding that they handled it without going through a financial institution in violation of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

But they pleaded not guilty.

At the resumed proceedings on Thursday, however, the defence counsel, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), Michael Lana and Oladeji Akinola, raised objections to the competence of an investigative officer with the EFCC, Usman Zakari, to testify as a witness in the case.

The defence counsel contended that Zakari’s statement was not front-loaded as part of the proof of evidence made available to them by the prosecution.

They argued that allowing the investigator to testify as such would breach their clients’ right to fair hearing under Section 36 of the Constitution.

They also cited Section 379 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 to buttress their argument.

But the prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, maintained that the prosecution had complied with the requirement of Section 379.

 

 

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